What are the Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography?

The penalties at the State and Federal levels for possession of child pornography are very harsh. The Florida legislature has mandated that the State must file separate charges for each individual picture or video file which they feel depicts child pornography. This means, conceivably, that an individual could be facing hundreds of charges for each individual photo or video file on their computer. Under the State sentencing guidelines, this can result in someone looking at 10 to 25 years in prison.

In the Federal system, there are minimum mandatory sentences for child pornography of five (5) years for simple possession or fifteen (15) years for distribution. Don’t be fooled by the word “distribution”. Most people do not think that they are distributing child pornography but if you are sharing it on a peer to peer network then the courts have interpreted that as distribution. Even without the minimum mandatory sentences, an individual could still be looking at well beyond the minimum five (5) years under the Federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory but not mandatory. Certain enhancements that often apply to child pornography cases make the advisory guideline range much higher and it is not uncommon for an individual to be looking at well over ten (10) years in the Federal system.

It is important to contact an attorney who can hire the experts to possibly conclude that what the Government says is child pornography actually is not. It is also important to secure a favorable plea agreement where the Government or State agrees to drop certain charges which will make the sentence much lower than if you are found guilty at trial.

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Ray Lopez has practiced since 1990, with prior experience as a Hillsborough County assistant State attorney and lawyer for the Tampa Police Department. He handles all criminal charges, from traffic violations and misdemeanors to serious felonies and federal drug charges. He practices in all state and federal courts of the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida, as well as criminal appeals, juvenile court, administrative hearings, and civil forfeiture proceedings.

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